The Postelles’ Daniel Balk doesn’t regret choosing band over school 

The idea to form a band first occurred to him at the tender age of 10, swears Daniel Balk, frontman for a picked-to-click little New York combo called The Postelles, who play Popscene at the Rickshaw Stop tomorrow night, celebrating the release of their self-titled debut disc. And he didn’t outgrow it.

“So when I went to high school, it wasn’t like I was there going ‘I’m doing well in school, so maybe I’ll do some band stuff on the side,’” he recalls. “It was more like I went to high school just to form a band. And I wanted to form a band because of John Lennon — I wanted to get four guys together to be like The Beatles.”

When other students had extra-credit courses on weekends, Balk’s outfit — then called The Modern — had shows. In Spanish class, he’d be calculating set lists for the evening’s show instead of conjugating verbs. Counselors warned him constantly to not forego his schooling for fickle rock and roll.

“But what were they gonna do? Put me in jail?” sneers Balk, now 23. “They could put me in detention, but it never really got to me, because I would just use the time to write more songs.”

His watershed moment: When the entire senior class took a college-visiting trip to North Carolina. Minus he and his bandmates, of course.

“We skipped that because we had a show at CBGB’s,” he says. “And looking back on it, it’s pretty funny that we had such a commitment to this group. But it’s why we’re still doing it and why we’re so confident in what we do — because we always took it to serious extremes.”

Initialy, The Postelles had a heavy Arctic Monkeys/Arcade Fire influence. Now, in quirky, jangled alt-rockers like “White Night,” “123 Stop” and “Sleep On The Dance Floor,” they’ve arrived at a mod-retro sound that’s totally theirs.

Naturally, it helps that Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. took them under his wing, and produced four tracks on the album. But it’s not that Balk pooh-poohs higher learning. He did attend college, he sighs. For one laborious month. As did bassist John Speyer and guitarist David Dargahi (for a full year apiece).

“But we were all pretty miserable in college, as you are if you really wanna do something else,” he says. “So we said ‘Look — let’s take a year off and try it out. And if we get signed, we’ll keep doing The Postelles.’ And we did get signed, so now we’ve taken six years off!”

Watch the band’s video for “Hold On” below and keep up with them at www.thepostelles.com.

Hold On - The Postelles from The Postelles on Vimeo.

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Tom Lanham

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